Turkey, Tanzania to work on production of military and defense materiel

Nordic Monitor


Turkey and Tanzania have agreed to establish mechanisms of cooperation in the defense industry that cover such areas as the production and modernization of military and defense materiel as well as research in the field. The agreement also opens the Tanzanian market up to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s defense conglomerates.

In the text of the agreement, obtained by Nordic Monitor, the two countries pledge to cooperate in industrial production and modernization of, in particular, spare parts, tools, defense materials, military systems and technical displays and equipment required by the armed forces of the two parties.

Article 4 underlines that the parties should focus on “selling, purchasing or exchange, in line with the relevant legislation of the parties, of surplus defence industry products and services,” adding that they will assist each other “in the fields of production and procurement of defence industry goods and services as well as the modernization of tools and equipment of both parties.”

The 22-article agreement was submitted to parliament for ratification on June 26, 2019 by President Erdoğan.


The letter submitted to parliament seeking approval of the agreement with Tanzania:




The agreement made Tanzania a significant market for the Turkish defense industry led by companies controlled by President Erdoğan and his family members. Erdoğan consolidated arms manufacturers and government procurement agencies under his direct and indirect control and has used the military industrial complex to sustain and finance his Islamist regime.

While Erdoğan took over control of all government agencies involved in the production, development and procurement of arms and defense materiel such as military electronics producer Aselsan, military avionics manufacturer Havelsan, rocket producer Roketsan and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), he redistributed the assets of private arms manufacturers to a few companies that are close to him.

Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Selçuk Bayraktar, emerged as the chief of the Turkish defense industry following his wedding. Erdoğan incorporated a firm into his family when his daughter Sümeyye married Bayraktar, the technology officer of Baykar Makina, which manufactures armed and unarmed drones for the Turkish military and law enforcement agencies. In many speeches Erdoğan often boasted about Bayraktar-manufactured armed drones, saying they have enhanced Turkey’s counterterrorism capabilities. Recently, the presidency announced that Bayraktar’s company, Baykar Makina, would receive government support to expand its output.

Erdoğan’s other son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, is Turkey’s treasury and finance minister.

Ethem Sancak, a businessman close to Erdoğan, has been an important figure in the Turkish defense industry since 2014. The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) handed over vehicle maker BMC to his company in 2014. BMC was originally owned by Cukurova Holding but was seized by the government in 2013 and sold to Sancak at a highly discounted price, while the company’s debts were paid by taxpayers. In August 2017 the government awarded BMC a contract valued at $350 million to produce 529 armored vehicles for the Turkish Armed Forces. Moreover, a tank tread company belonging to the Turkish military was also transferred to BMC for 25 years by the Turkish president in January 2019. Sancak, who openly declared his love for Erdoğan, serves as a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) executive committee.


Erdoğan’s son-in-law Selçuk Bayraktar.


The detailed agreement lays out 16 areas of collaboration including the development, production, procurement and maintenance of defense goods and services, technical and logistical support, the selling of defense materiel, joint research projects, the exchange of information and relevant documents and the encouragement of technology transfer.

The deal also sets forth conditions on the handling of classified information and documents produced or provided under the agreement, specifying how they shall be exchanged, used and protected.

The agreement allows both sides to appoint civilian and military officers to implement the agreement or complementary and implementation texts, memorandums of understanding, protocols and arrangements to be signed in accordance with the agreement. These officers are defined as guest personnel in the text.

The text was signed on January 23, 2017 in Dar es Salaam by then-Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak and Tanzanian Minister of Defense and National Service Ussein Mwinyi during President Erdoğan’s visit, the first leg of an Africa tour that included Mozambique and Madagascar.

The terms of the agreement will be executed by the Ministry of Defense on the Turkish side and the Ministry of Defense and National Service for Tanzania. The deal is valid for five years with automatic renewal. According to the agreement, either party may notify the other at any time of the intent to terminate.


The 11-page security agreement is posted below:



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